Every morning, millions of workers across the world commute to their place of employment. Whether by bus, trolley, train or auto, the need to get to work hits everyone hard in a depressed economy. Join us in exploring ways to implement eco-friendly work from home tips, or to become more cost-effective working outside the home.
According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, U.S. fuel prices rose 1.9 percent in August 2011, after a 4.7 percent increase the previous month. Over the past 12 months, the gasoline index has increased 32.4 percent. It goes without saying that taking the most direct route to work is most cost-effective, fuel-wise… but planning your commute to enable timely stops to the market or to pay bills on your way to or from work can save money as well. Following a pre-planned route not only saves money and fuel – it also reduces your carbon footprint while trekking to and fro to run errands.
Know Your Strengths… and Weaknesses
Many people make attempts to save money on workday lunches and coffee stops, but fail miserably due to pressure from their workmates, and on-the-job stress. It’s easy to go out to lunch each day, or hit up the coffee barista on your way to the office, but not exactly cost-effective. It’s not eco-friendly either, when you take into consideration the piles of carry-out cups generated by take-out lunches and coffee kiosks. Brewing your own coffee or tea at home each morning is the obvious solution – and getting up early enough to eat breakfast can help control the urge to snack (or waste money!) If you’re a coffee drinker, purchase a programmable coffee maker, which will have your morning brew ground and steaming hot when you get out of bed every morning. Set it up the night before, to save time. Pare down your weekday expenditures by planning one day a week to eat lunch out of the office with your co-workers. Your wallet will thank you for it!
The Buddy System
Shopping over your lunch hour can rack up mounds of debt, simply because impulse shopping involves random purchases of merchandise we have little need for. If you know your weakness is window shopping (with the end result being a purchase each day) then enlist a co-worker or friend to support your noontime stroll – and to keep you accountable. There’s little harm is confiding in a friend… explain that you’re trying to stick to a budget but you also really enjoy stepping out of the office for fresh air every day. Perhaps bringing a pair of sneakers is the healthy solution in this case: begin walking – a steady pace is time enough for a brief glance at retail storefronts – and reap the benefits by losing a few pounds or toning up!
Eco-Friendly Ways to Work
Is your office eco-friendly? Does the organization you work for actively practice earth-friendly ways to save money and energy? If not, help spearhead a workplace initiative to make the office a greener place to work. Eco-friendly solutions like compact fluorescent or LED lighting and solar heat can save thousands each year. Other office place tips include reprogramming the office thermostat, implementing a ‘bring-your-own coffee mug’ policy for the break room, avoid printing documents that could just as easily be emailed, and instituting a recycling program for paper throughout the office. Offices who have replaced aging desktop computers with laptops use up to 70 percent less electricity and generate less heat waste.
The Work-From-Home Solution
Many businesses have found that allowing employees to telecommute not only reduces fossil fuel use, but makes for more productive employees as well. Every commute not taken saves on money and time – and allows employees freedom in juggling family and career. If a telecommuting policy has yet to be implemented by your employer, approach the idea with a concise plan that spells out exactly how you will operate on your day(s) working outside the office. Set goals and agree to criteria which the plan can be measured against to prove success. If your office doesn’t condone telecommuting, and you feel you have the skills or talent to make it work, then perhaps supplementing your income by blogging, freelancing, or working as a virtual assistant could propel you towards self-employment.
Saving money in the workplace and by making a conscious effort to implement eco-friendly options is an option that more employers are undertaking each day, internationally. Spending wisely and reevaluating your commute or work habits can save enough to allow you to plan for a vacation, or save more for retirement.
How do you save on workday expenditures or make your workplace a greener environment to work in? Share your tips here!
Guest Post Author Bio: The following is a guest post by Lisa at Frugal Living, an Australian personal finance blog created to help readers figure out how to save money and watch your own spending habits.